This story has been changed from the version which appeared in print. The original article was published in "The Hazelwood West Gazette" on December 19,1997. This is the first draft of the article, before all the background information about the history of the pledge was cut for space.

"Pledge Proposal Promotes Patriotism"


It seems strange that, from kindergarten on, we have said the pledge of allegiance every day for years. Now we are in high school, and we only find time to show dedication to our country on Monday mornings, with a below-average recording of our national anthem.

Well, we embarked on a quest, in pursuit of the truth. Why is it that we don't say the pledge of allegiance in high school? It was a mind-boggling question; one we wanted an answer to.

After much digging around, we found former superintendents Dr. Francis Huss and Mr. Richard Negri. According to them, the pledge of allegiance has never been a part of the morning ritual at Hazelwood West. Students of the old Hazelwood High School would both say the pledge and listen to the national anthem every day.

When Hazelwood West, East, and Central were formed, they stopped saying the pledge and only played the national anthem every day.

Around 1973 or 1974, they only played the national anthem once a week.

After discovering this information, we decided to find out what West students knew and felt about the pledge of allegiance. Our survey revealed that a surprisingly large number of students could not say the pledge.

"I kinda feel bad that I don't remember it, after saying it all through grade school," said senior Ron Moore, after trying to recite the pledge.

We then asked students what they thought about the fact that we do not say the pledge of allegiance at West. "It doesn't matter," said 8th grader Crystal Gerling. Her response was similar to what we heard from most students.

Several administrators at Hazelwood West and at the Hazelwood School District Central Office questioned the idea of beginning the pledge of allegiance again. Most of them were quick to add that they loved the idea personally, and they were all for patriotism. "It may be more trouble than itŐs worth," said superintendent Dr. Larry Humphries.

It is scary to think that a majority of students do not care about having respect for our country. Have students' hearts become so hardened that we really don't care? We should have a sense of pride in our country, because it is the best in the world. School officials need to stop being so cautious and try being a little bold, by standing up for what is right.

Many students also mentioned that they found listening to the national anthem every week quite boring. "Personally, I think listening to the anthem is a waste of class time," said sophomore Rick Price.

So there would seem to be two problems: A lack of respect for our country, and a feeling of boredom with listening to the national anthem. We believe there is a way to solve both of these problems.

The administration should alternate between playing the national anthem and saying the pledge of allegiance, every other week. "I would like that," said senior Gretchen Soderberg, "because it's shorter and you get to participate."

Mr. Steve Jurkins, building principal, expressed interest in the idea, if students want to do it. "I'm very patriotic,Ó he said, "and I'd be all for it."

The administration should also turn over the job of doing announcements to students. By doing this, students could find creative ways to pay respect to our country. Instead of complaining about hokey anthem recordings, we could find more exciting ways to do it ourselves. Senior John Luecke liked this idea. "I always like things that have to do with our country that connect to me," he said.

The pledge of allegiance is a way we can express our loyalty to the United States of America. It has been such a long time since we have said it in school, so the idea of doing it again seems pretty exciting. Why not try it?


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